Newsroom Cambodia

CNRP Mass Trials: The Cases and the Controversy

Seng Chanthorn, (second from right), holds a photo of her jailed husband, Sun Thun, while protesting with other women in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on September 25, 2020. They are calling for the release from prison of their spouses, all former CNRP officials. (Hy Chhay/VOD)

Six case files against 153 CNRP defendants, split into four trials, make up a web of ongoing prosecutions against the outlawed opposition’s senior leaders and grassroots supporters, with hearings so far debating CNRP co-founder Sam Rainsy’s call for soldiers to turn their guns against Prime Minister Hun Sen as well as the content of private communications among supporters.

The main opposition CNRP, which made significant gains against the ruling CPP since its formation in 2012, was outlawed by the Supreme Court in 2017 following local-level commune elections and a treason charge against party president Kem Sokha. Several senior leaders have continued campaigning from exile abroad, while persistent support for the party within the country has led to a slew of charges and jailings against activists.

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